Exploring Kuala Belait, Brunei
Kuala Belait is not a tourist city. But it offers a beautiful glimpse to the simple city life which is very different from Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital city. Fondly called KB by the locals, the city has a lovely small town charm and many small cafes and restaurants on its popular boulevard Jalan Pretty.
In this blog post, we have made a small guide on places to see and things to do in Kuala Belait, western Brunei. It is perfect for a one or two day visit and includes information on activities, sightseeing, where to stay and other useful links here.
What to see and things to do
Kuala Belait is the second biggest city in Brunei after the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan. It is located very close to the Malaysian border and is often overlooked by visitors to either country passing on this route. However, there are actually many interesting things to see and do in Kuala Belait.
Kampong Pandan Mosque
The Kampong Pandan Mosque (or Masjid) is located in Pandan village (called ‘Kampung’ in Malay). It is one of the largest mosques in the country after these mosques in Bandar Seri Begawan. It is air-conditioned with two floors for prayers. The building is surrounded by lawns, jogging paths and a small lake. The mosque is located in a residential neighbourhood and is beautifully lit up at night.
Menara Cendera Kenangan and Sungai Belait Riverfront
This towering beacon is actually a historic gift commemorating the Sultan’s 50th birthday and offers the most scenic views in the Belait District. Many locals come here to exercise in the gardens around the tower. It is best to visit the tower at sunset. Many visitors have seen crocodiles and exotic birds that call the Sungai Belait riverside their home.
Belait Museum and Silver Jubilee Park
The building was first built as the official residence for the Deputy British Resident in 1938 during the colonial rule. The building was later renovated in 2011 and opened to public as a museum in 2016. Inside the museum, there are exhibits of natural and cultural heritage, history of the Belait district and the discovery of the Oil and Gas industry. The nearby Silver Jubilee Park is a good place to rest and enjoy a tea-time picnic or a visit to the beach.
Masjid Mohammad Jamalul Alam and Belait Clock Tower
This mosque is quite unique in its architecture – appears more modern than the typical mosque in Asia. Built in honour of the 26th Sultan of Brunei (who was also the first ruler to speak English there). The minars have flattened tips and the shallow dome is conical. Visitors are allowed in the mosque except at prayer time.
The Belait Clock tower is in the vicinity. Its an icon of the simple town that Kuala Belait truly is.
Jalan means street or road in Malay. It definitely is a pretty street with its colourful buildings, small bakeries and cafes, and lovely plants along the sidewalk. Its only 300 metres long, but you can easily spend an hour walking around and window shopping. The street ends at the Belait riverfront and has some old school street lamps, making for a perfect walk at sunset. If you observe carefully, you might even spot some exotic birds flying from the nearby river.
Tip: Kaizen Sushi is a restaurant on Jalan Pretty offering many delicious Japanese dishes – Bruneians love this cuisine!
Tea Pot Roundabout and Istana Kota Manggalela
Cafes and restaurants in Kuala Belait
Most restaurants in Kuala Belait are located in the Jalan Pretty and Jalan Tenggah areas. The most popular cuisines are Malaysian, Indian, Italian and Chinese. There are a few, but very Japanese restaurants too.
If you want cheap but delicious food, you can always ask around for a Mamak restaurant where local Malay and Indonesian food (or even Indian food) is available on a budget.
Where to stay in Kuala Belait
Kuala Belait is a small city and hence everything is within a short distance. Its best to stay around Jalan Pretty if you want convenience to explore. If you want the beach, stay on the north side of town. There are some resorts and serviced apartments on Jalan Maulana too.
Check all hotels here
Getting to Kuala Belait and local transport
Kuala Belait is only 15 kms from the Malaysian border and 50 kms from Miri, a large Malaysian city with an international airport. There are regular buses from Miri to the border and also through to Bandar Seri Begawan. They stop at Kuala Belait enroute.
Bandar Seri Begawan is the capital of Brunei and is located 110 kms from Kuala Belait. While the roads are very good, finding public transport or taxis is hard. There are a few scheduled buses plying between Kuala Belait and Bandar Seri Begawan. You can find these at the city centre or bus terminals.
You definitely won’t need public transport to explore Kuala Belait as everything is within walking distance. In case you need a taxi, use the Dart App (like Uber) or rent a car from the many rental companies there.
Cost of travelling in Kuala Belait
The currency in Brunei is called the Brunei Dollar or Brunei Ringgit which is pegged to the Singapore Dollar and can be used interchangeably at any shop or restaurant. BND 1 = USD 0.75 or INR 62. There are several ATMs in the city where you can withdraw cash using your Visa or Mastercard bank cards. Credit cards are also widely accepted for payment in most businesses (except at the small shops and night markets).
These indicative costs are in USD per item.
How many days in Kuala Belait
Since Kuala Belait is small, its possible to visit most of the attractions in just one day (even if you’re on foot). If you want to take it slow, two days would be more than enough to soak in the place and its culture.
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